women's intelligence

Kristi Wiley kwiley at UCLINK.BERKELEY.EDU
Mon Feb 2 19:38:10 UTC 1998

>       My query is whether there is any indication in the Sanskritic
>tradition (at any historical point) that the actual intelligence
>itself--the cognitive faculty--of women was considered inferior to men's
>(as opposed to the *focus* of the intelligence or the social or cultural
>realm within which it was applied). In other words, regardless of social
>circumstance, whether women's buddhi, or dhii, or praj~naa was a priori,
>constitutionally and inherently considered to be inferior or lesser than a

For a Jaina discussion on the inability of women to participate in debates,
which is linked with the inability to develop the requisite occult powers,
see Padmanabh S. Jaini, Gender and Salvation (UC Press, 1991, p. 18, #33ff
and p. 53 #21 ff.  Both Shvetamba (Yapaniya) and Digambara sources state
that women lack supernatural powers such as skill in debate, do not have
direct mental perception, and are inferior in scriptural understanding
(because there are certain texts that are not to be taught to women).
According to Shvetambara sources, this does not prevent the attainment of
moksha but these are among the reasons cited in Digambara sources for their
position that a woman cannot attain moksha.

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